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Get a job: Competition running high for holiday hiring

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The all-important holiday shopping season is ramping up, and so is hiring for retailers, who typically expect to make a significant portion of their profits during the fourth quarter of the year.

WCCO reports that with the most recent report of the state’s unemployment rate dropping below 4 percent, retailers seeking a seasonal work force are facing more competition. The station said that employment rates are so high in the metro area that fewer people are looking for work.

“The past 4 or 5 years it’s been easy to get people and we’ve hired some really outstanding people the past couple of years. Now, it’s becoming a lot harder,” said Trent Johnson of B&J Farms’ pop-up tree yard in St. Louis Park. Johnson said. “I can definitely feel it’s tightening up and the labor isn’t out there as much.”

The Star Tribune reported that in October, the biggest Minnesota job gains were in the retail sector, where firms added 5,300 jobs.

“Some of this strength is certainly reflecting growing consumer confidence and a willingness to spend,” state labor economist Steve Hine said.

The uptick in jobs comes as no surprise. In October, KARE 11 reported that projections for holiday hiring was expected to be "robust." The prediction was based on Minnesota's improving economy and a jump in employment in recent months.

24/7 Wall Street reported that seven of the nation’s largest retailers will together add nearly 400,000 jobs for the holiday season.

Macy's earlier announced that it would boost seasonal hiring by 3.6 percent over 2013. That is expected to result in 86,000 holiday hires nationally, most of them part-time and spread through the in-store and on-line departments. Wisconsin-based Kohl's plans to add 70,000 seasonal workers.

Forbes magazine indicated the short-term jobs are not highly lucrative. The financial magazine cites a survey of hiring managers that indicated that more than half of employers, 63 percent, plan to pay $10 or more per hour and just 19 percent will pay $16 or more.

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